You immediately recognise a perfect match when you see it. Billerudkorsnäs White and l’Occitane look like twin spirits: together they make a statement of authenticity.
"This is very much where our brand finds its meaning and its purpose", says Pascale Baussan. "The success of our company comes from staying faithful to respectful and authentic values."
It is easy to like a company such as l’Occitane. Because their products focus on well-being, health and feel-good factors. Because they are value-driven and because they stand for high ethical standards, fairness and good causes. And because their products unveil the colours and scents that are the very soul of Provence.
It all started on a modest scale in 1976. At the age of 23 Olivier Baussan bought a still to extract essential oils for his garage-based production of soap, bath foam and shampoo.He packaged and sold his products in person, and later asked his family to help with the graphic design and watercolour label designs.
Natural and simple
What began with lavender and rosemary soon branched out to include all the traditional fragrances of Provence – lemon, honey, almond, cherry blossom and olive. The company grew, created jobs and settled in Manosque. It expanded into a business with a distinct and respected brand. Although today l’Occitane is an international multi-million-Euro company, it has never gone back on its original values and principles. It uses only natural ingredients of controlled origin with no animal testing or child labour, gives priority to local suppliers, and respects human rights and the planet.
Print on the brown side
Pascale Baussan is the founder’s sister. For the past 20 years she has been working closely on the packaging development, graphic design and choice of materials.
"When we discovered the cartonboard manufactured at Frövi, we chose it immediately. Printing on the reverse, brown side of the board reinforced the brand image. It had an interesting cloudy effect and a deepness of colour which was truly unique and authentic and which suited the image we wanted to give the company. Later we used the reverse side of Korsnäs White, which suited our demands for a whiter board to work with fresher colours in cosmetics. But the reverse side of BillerudKorsnäs Cartonboard has always been our trademark. L’Occitane is a socially responsible company, committed to limiting the impact of its actions and products on the environment." The company’s choice of packaging material is consistent with this principle. What is more, the company still receives praise from clients for its highly original packaging. Sustainability and attractive design work extremely well together.
Helping the visually impaired
But there are more and bigger factors that convey the image of a responsible company in a powerful way. In the early 1980s, Olivier Baussan discovered shea butter, extracted from the nut of a thousand-year-old tree in Burkina Faso. Shea butter is called women’s gold because it is produced exclusively by women.
It became one of the main enriching ingredients in several l’Occitane products. Right from the start Olivier established the principles of fair trade to help women and to develop a range of products containing shea butter. Today, the l’Occitane Foundation runs a women’s emancipation programme in Burkina Faso.
In the early 1990s the foundation also established a support programme for the visually impaired and now most of its products include Braille on their package labels. Today most industries take Braille into account in the development of their packaging.